TUCSON — Michael Drummond, the youngest man ever to receive an artificial heart, is suffering from an undetermined form of pneumonia that could jeopardize his life if not controlled, a doctor said Tuesday.
"Michael has taken a turn for the worse," Dr. Mark Levinson, spokesman for the University Medical Center, told a news conference, where he said that Drummond's condition has been downgraded from fair to serious.
The infection, possibly caused by a fungus, could be valley fever or even legionnaire's disease, Levinson said.
Levinson called the disease "a form of pneumonia. We are afraid if we cannot get ahead of this infection, it will be life-threatening. We have been concerned about Michael since his fever occurred about a week ago. We have not been able to budge the fever with antibiotics."
Drummond, 25, may have contracted the disease from breathing equipment, and the infection may have stemmed from something as simple as dust or water droplets, Levinson said.
Drummond received a human heart Sept. 7 after spending nine days with a Jarvik-7 implant.